Skip to main content

Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

See other formats

Low Birth and Low Death Rates
For this group of countries we do not need to select examples; they all have good official statistics, and we need merely add to obtain an aggregate figure. In another connection the author has done such a totalling for the countries of Europe, whose population in 1965 was 442 million. Only for Northern Ireland were 1965 figures unavailable. Europe is treated as though it were a single country, and a consolidated life table, intrinsic rates, and other computations are made available. The several countries are implicitly weighted according to their populations. Such consolidated figures are especially convenient for a relatively homogeneous group of countries.
The consolidated European 1965 birth rate was 18.04 per 1,000, the death rate 10.20; hence the rate of natural increase was 7.84. The United States, for which the 1967 figures are 17.97, 9.36, and 8.61 per 1,000 for birth, death, and natural increase respectively, falls in the same demographic classification as Europe. Similar also are the Soviet Union, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Japan is an extreme member of the class, with 1966 figures of 13.77, 6.78, and 6.99; its birth and death rates are lower, but its rate of natural increase is very similar to that of other countries in this group.
The death rates appear to be going down in these countries in recent years but probably at a declining rate. The consolidated male life table for Europe, for instance, goes from an expectation of 64.88 years in 1955 to 66.57 in 1960, but only to 67.69 in 1965. The expectation of life for males is rising by 1 year every 5 years now, for females perhaps double this. In the United States, on the other hand, the male expectation of life has been approximately constant over the past few years, while the female expectation has increased by about 1 year per decade.
We can (with much more confidence than for the preceding groups) speak of this part of the world as containing nearly one billion people, a little less than 30 percent of the current world total, and increasing at about 0.7 percent per year.
Table 1 presents a summary of the three demographic types.
This very approximate scheme allows us to think about the consequences for the world's future population if the present rates continue. The first conclusion is that they cannot continue for a century; if they did, the world would contain 38 billion people.
Serious problems will arise if even the European group continues at the present rate of 0.7 percent per year for a century; its population saturates the environment now. Improving technology substitutes less valuable resources for more valuable: nylon (made of coal) for silk, for example, or atomicthe age of 20 and before 40, the reduction of the birth rate at the younger age will have more consequence for the rate of natural increase. For a population that is rapidly increasing, however, this is lessh to prove troublesome. control. Dr. Hilton Salhanick has observed that some women practicing the rhythm method will break or lose their thermometers at the critical juncture in theirright, therefore alwayshas some c